Chapter 4: Clients and Customers

24 Writing

Before you write

Sandy, your Workplace Mentor

In this section, we will practise writing a formal workplace email in response to a complaint.

Writing email messages is an important skill that you will need for many tasks related to employment and daily life. The way you write an email will depend on the purpose of the message, but there are some basic things you must do:

  • Use the appropriate salutation and closing.
  • Use the appropriate level of formality.
  • Organize your information.
  • Be brief and to the point.

The context

Read the context below. Think about the context and talk about it.

A customer is very upset over parking issues because of the parkade construction at CDN Malls. The customer, Daniel Lindberg, has written an email to CDN Malls about his bad experience.

Sima is going to reply to the customer. Talk about the features Sima’s reply must have and how soon she should reply to the customer.

Read the four email messages below. Select the most appropriate response to the customer. Discuss why you chose or rejected a message.

a) Apology email 1

b) Apology email 2

c) Apology email 3

d) Apology email 4

The content

Let us look at Sima’s reply more carefully.

Sima's apology email
  1. When you handle a complaint via email, it is important to start and end the email with a positive message. It is also important to let the customer or client know that you value their feedback. The email needs to be formal because it is addressing a complaint, and the audience is a customer. You can see how Sima does this in the example below:
The steps Sima follows Sentences from her email
She starts the email with a positive message. Attached to this email, you will find a printable gift certificate for $25.00 that you can use at any of the

restaurants at CDN Malls.

She apologizes. We are sorry for the inconvenience the parkade renovations have

caused you …

She thanks the customer for the feedback. We appreciate your taking the time to provide us feedback.
She gives the customer

information on changes or action taken.

It has helped us make the directions to our oth7er parkade and surface

lots clearer. Our staff will continue to monitor the situation to facilitate customer access and parking.

She ends the email with a positive message. Your business is important to us, …

Discuss how Sima makes the email sound formal. Which words and phrases make the email sound more formal?

  1. Here are some useful expressions that can be used in a response to a complaint.

We have attached a full refund for …

Thank you for …

We sincerely apologize for …

We have arranged for the ______ you requested.

We appreciate …

Please accept our apologies …

We are sorry that …

We will do everything we can to …

I must apologize for …

Your satisfaction is important to us.

We are grateful for …

We would like to thank you for …

We regret that …

Please accept our invitation to …

We would like to offer …

Complete the chart below by matching each of the above expressions to its purpose.

Expressing a positive message Expressing an apology Expressing thanks
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ray, your Strategy Coach

  1. Practise your proofreading skills.

The email message below has several punctuation and capitalization errors. Underline the errors and make the necessary corrections.

Apology email with errors

Writing practice

Yiu are an employee at CDN Malls. You have received an email from a customer, Jill Agnew, complaining that water was dripping from the ceiling of the East Parkade. The water stained her coat, and she had to spend $43.25 to have her coat dry cleaned and the stain removed.

Write a formal email message in response. In your message, do the following:

  • Open the email with a positive message.
  • Apologize to the customer.
  • Thank the customer for the feedback.
  • Give the customer information on the changes or action taken.
  • Close with a positive message.
  • Use the appropriate level of formality. Before you start writing:
  • Discuss
    • * which salutation is appropriate
    • * how you are going to write the email
    • * what information you are going to include
    • * how you are going to close the
  • Read the rubric on the next page so you are aware of the expectations of the task.

Writing progress check

Rubric

The table on the right is a special type of form called a rubric. Rubrics are often used to measure how well a person completes a task.

On the left side is the writing task or assignment, with the main requirements below it. The requirements show how you should complete the task.

There are spaces for checkmarks in the three middle columns to show how well you did. On the right-hand side, there is a space for comments from the instructor or tester.

Complete the writing task on the next page, paying attention to the expectations in the rubric.

Chapter 4: Writing Progress Check
  • Topic: Workplace communications
  • Task: Write a formal workplace email
Name:

Date:

Criteria Yes Some No What can you do better next time?
You started the email with a suitable salutation.
You opened the email on a positive note.
You apologized and thanked the customer for the feedback.
You informed the customer of changes or action taken.
You ended the email with a positive message.
You ended the email with an appropriate closing.
You used the appropriate level of formality throughout by avoiding slang and contractions.
You used accurate punctuation and capitalization.

Task

You are an employee at CDN Malls. You have received an email from a customer, Mira Roe, complaining that the washrooms at the mall were not clean. Before you begin, read and understand the rubric so you are aware of the expectations of the task.


Write a formal email message in response. In your message, do the following:

  • Open the email with a positive message.
  • Apologize to the customer.
  • Thank the customer for the feedback.
  • Give the customer information on the changes or action taken.
  • Close with a positive message.

Use the appropriate level of formality.

 

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